The Main Event

Local sailors look forward to the 2015 Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta at Marblehead Race Week.

The International One Design is the longest-standing class at Marblehead Race Week, and this year the class will include one of the longest-sailing crew, too. Norm Cressi, aboard the IOD Sagacious, is celebrating his 67th Race Week by sailing with local friends. "It's always fun to have the wily veteran aboard," says Sagacious skipper Tim Dittrich.

The Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta in Marblehead is the only NOOD series event to include the IOD. But, if there’s anywhere to do it, it’s here. “It’s a big week for us,” says Dittrich. “Unlike other events, we’re sailing in our own class and don’t have to worry about other boats and ratings mixed in. We love it, the local community gets behind it—it’s a celebration.”

With eight entries, Dittrich says the class trophy is anyone’s to claim. “There is no clear-cut boat that has a lock on this,” he says. “Everybody is coming in with a focus on consistency and a podium finish. That makes for great racing and makes the fleet that much stronger and healthier. Everyone will have a shot.”

The former Corinthian YC commodore attributes much of his Race Week and NOOD success, including a second place finish in the IOD class last year, to patience. “Be patient with the wind. It will come,” he advises. “Be focused, because you have to wait for the wind and when it comes it isn’t always consistent. Make sure that you go to the after parties. Marblehead is a historic sailing venue, and it’s worth enjoying to the fullest.”

Both the Town Class and the J/70s are holding their New England Championships as a part of the Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta in Marblehead. With 32 registrants, including 2014's second place winner, Stein Skaane aboard Shred, the J/70s are looking forward to the influx of competition.

Ric Dexter is ready to repeat his overall winner title in the J/105 class this year. “Last year, we learned to stay in clear air and sail our own race,” says Dexter. “If you can do that, then the rich get richer. That’s the way it goes in this fleet. If we get into trouble, we have to claw our way back.”

Dexter, who calls the NOOD the biggest race of the local J/105 season, knows there’s a target on his back. “There are so many good people and good crews sailing in this regatta,” he says. “If we end up in the top five again this year, we’ll be very happy. We always go into it to win, but it’s a tough crowd. We want to do well and be happy with our performance.

Not only will Dexter and his crew aboard Circe's Cup be competing for the overall and class title, but Wilmington Trust has returned as a sponsor to the Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta in Marblehead with their coveted leader spinnaker. The spinnaker is awarded each day to the leader in the J/105 class, and ultimately to the overall winner on Sunday. "We are pleased to continue our partnership with Marblehead Race Week, and are excited to again sponsor the leader spinnaker award to recognize the best teams at this premier sailing event," said Will Parizeau, Wealth Advisory market leader for Wilmington Trust in Boston. "Wilmington Trust is honored to support the efforts of the Helly Hanson NOOD Regatta and the Marblehead Racing Association. We wish the very best to all boats and their crews."

Online registration for the 2015 Helly Hansen NOOD Reagatta in Marblehead is closed. On-site registration is available starting on Thursday at the Eastern Yacht Club.

J/105 Circe's Cup won their class in 2014, but not without serious competition. The top three boats in the class were all within a point of each other.Michelle Phillips